It came as no surprise to anyone that the part of my wedding I was most excited for was the performance of it all! Think about it, weddings are giant performances: you have a script, costumes, hair, makeup, you even have a rehearsal at the beginning and a cast party at the end! This isn’t to make light of the seriousness and the importance of the ceremony, it’s just about the excitement of the celebration that comes with weddings! There’s a lot to celebrate when two families are joined together.
When it came to our wedding, my (now) husband and I had a wedding on a budget, but I 100% got my fairytale wedding. Honestly, wouldn’t have changed a thing (I feel weird saying that when there is one thing, my grandparents couldn’t make it). The fact that they couldn’t make it doesn’t stick in my mind, though, because a few weeks later my husband, grandparents, and I all got wedding ready took some pictures. So overall, them missing the wedding meant that I got to wear my dress twice, so who am I to complain?
The only weird part of that whole thing was that we took the pictures outside at my grandparent’s house and the neighbors (suburban neighborhood) were having a party. There was a slight awkward moment of, “yeah, we’re already married, this is just for show…” I think everyone got a good laugh!
Back to the actual wedding, I had such a blast prepping for the wedding with my friends and family! When you’re on a budget, there are so many opportunities to DIY with the decorations and the gifts and the numerous get-togethers leading up to the big day.
As a recently married woman, may I make a suggestion to all the girls out there who are planning their big day? Try to diy at least one thing. It can be a small thing, like getting invites with many inserts that you have to put together or folding napkins a certain way ahead of time, but investing time with your friends and family to work on the wedding is both exciting and calming at the same time. It’s exciting because you’re prepping for your big day! Then it’s calming because you’re with people who are helping and supporting you through what would otherwise be a stressful planning process. I made things for our wedding with my parents, his parents, and I wrote letters of thanks to the people in the wedding who mean a lot to me. There’s time for reflection when you make something and that’s hugely valuable.
This first diy I did with my husband to be – bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts.
We decided pretty early on that we wanted a coffee-themed wedding. There were a few reasons for this:
- We wanted to steer the focus off alcohol and onto a different drink. I’m not saying we don’t enjoy a good drink or that we don’t like getting drunk together, but our wedding wasn’t a time we wanted to remember through a drunken stupor.
- Wedding on a budget – alcohol/open bars are very expensive and comparatively, coffee can be done cheaper.
- Neither of our families are big drinkers. Only the current generation of mine drinks (not our parents) and his only really like craft beer and gin socially, not heavily.
- My husband wakes at 5am and passes out by 8pm and only retains consciousness between those hours with pots and pots of coffee. We couldn’t have the groom passing out!
- We wanted something unique and no one in our families had a coffee-themed wedding!
Since that was the case, drink-themed bridesmaid/groomsmen gifts seemed in order. I say “drink” because we knew that some of them weren’t coffee drinkers (I know, weird) but we wanted them to enjoy their gifts so we planned accordingly.
Since we got engaged right before Summer, we decided to get the girls iced beverage tumblers. They’re wicked popular right now, but I decided not to plan anything for the wedding based on trends purposefully. If it’s trendy, fine. If it’s not, I don’t care.
I did lots of research and found an Etsy seller who does beautiful work! The tumblers each say the girl’s name and the wedding date, so it’s wedding-y but not blatantly so. I’ve been in weddings before where I got beautiful gifts but I feel like I can’t use them after the wedding because they say “bridesmaid” on them. It feels weird. So I wanted everything I got my girls to be personal but not super wedding-y.
I then filled the container with tea bags (since they all like tea but only one likes coffee) and wrapped them up in cellophane.
I still see the girls using them! That makes me so, so happy.
Josh wanted to get his guys glass mugs. He likes the aesthetic of glass mugs (good thing, too, once ya’ll see what our actual wedding looked like) so we went with those. Again, a ton of research later, and I found an etching artist that we liked. Since the mugs themselves were so expensive, we opted not to fill them with anything so all we needed was packaging. We found these boxes for a buck a piece at the Dollar Store along with the blue filler (since we only needed one bag, just another buck!) Every once in a while one of the guys will send a picture of himself using the mug and Josh seems pretty pleased about that.
My one regret is that lately on Pinterest I’ve been seeing these little notes that go with groomsmen gifts that say something like, “my future wife is making me give you something cutesy to ask you to dress up and stand for an hour while I get married. So uh, would you? There’ll be beer.” and I SO wish I’d thought of that.
A Changing of the Guards
Now, since this is a DIY blog, I feel I should point out when the DIY part of this got a little more important. Of course we bought the mugs and packaging, but we did put it all together ourselves. All was going great until, well, see that guy’s name on the mug in front in the photo of the groomsmen’s mugs? He wasn’t in the wedding after all. There was a bit of a falling out and Josh took a hard blow, but remember what I said about the importance of friends and family and support during this whole process? Well he has a lot of love and support but Chris wasn’t just not showing support, but actively showing a lack of it.
It’s funny, I think we all feel like we’re supposed to have a bff in our wedding party, but if you’re going through a time of change which includes a change of friends, maybe the friend who’s fading out shouldn’t be there anyway. Live and learn.
In the end, Josh and I are lucky that the falling out occurred before the wedding because we were both harboring a lot of guilt deciding that we wanted to have the same number of bridesmaids as groomsmen over wanting to ask his brother-in-law (who would make the groomsmen outnumber the bridesmaids) to stand by his side. Chris was gone, brother-in-law (Zane) is in, and when we’re crippled and old we will always look back at our pictures and be glad of that fact.
When we decided to ask Zane to be in the wedding, we wanted to do it asap which meant I had less than a week to get another mug! I contacted the seller who, understandably, had a full to-do list and couldn’t accommodate such a last minute order. So I decided I should just do it myself.
I’m very fortunate to have access to a vinyl cutter so I stole the design (I’m sorry, I just wanted it to match), copied it in Adobe Illustrator, changed the name, and cut it out. The next part I’d done before – simply peel off of the vinyl of the pieces you do want, leave what you don’t, then transfer it to a mug that you bought at, where else, the Dollar Store. Finally, coat it with some etching solution, wait, wash it, and peel off the vinyl. If anyone wants a full vinyl cutting DIY let me know. It came out better than I’d hoped with all the little details!
The moral of the story seems to be that not only is wedding planning time a good time to reflect, but making things yourself helps with that too.